Supreme Court Sides With Trump Administration Over Limiting Birth Control Access

The U.S. Supreme Court said Wednesday that employers can opt out of covering birth control in their health care plans for religious reasons.


Image via Getty/JIM WATSON/AFP


In a move that's tragically unsurprising given our current era of fuckery, the U.S. Supreme Court has taken aim at women's access to birth control as part of employer healthcare plans.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court announced it will uphold the Trump administration's expansion of Affordable Care Act birth control exemptions to include companies who might claim "religious or moral objections," per the Hill

When speaking on behalf of the 7-2 majority on Wednesday, Justice Clarence Thomas claimed involved departments had the legal authority to provide these exemptions "for employers with religious and conscientious objections." These same employers, of course, are also typically anti-choice, meaning their inept stance boils down to being both against the prevention of unwanted pregnancies and against abortion.

Pay attention: The Supreme Court just ruled that your boss or your university can, based on their own objections, take away your birth control coverage. #SCOTUS #HandsOffMyBC

— Planned Parenthood Action (@PPact) July 8, 2020

"The Third Circuit concluded that the Departments lacked statutory authority to promulgate these exemptions and affirmed the District Court’s nationwide preliminary injunction," Thomas said on Wednesday, as seen in the full opinion PDF here. "This decision was erroneous. We hold that the Departments had the authority to provide exemptions from the regulatory contraceptive requirements for employers with religious and conscientious objections. We accordingly reverse the Third Circuit's judgment and remand with instructions."

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who—alongside Sonia Sotomayor—wrote in dissent of the opinion, explained that the move is part of a larger effort to give religious groups full control of the law.

"Today, for the first time, the Court casts totally aside countervailing rights and interests in its zeal to secure religious rights to the nth degree. … Destructive of the Women's Health Amendment, this Court leaves women workers to fend for themselves, to seek contraceptive coverage from sources other than their employer’s insurer, and, absent another available source of funding, to pay for contraceptive services out of their own pockets," Ginsburg wrote.

The decision has been widely criticized for its obvious cruelty, with some—including Bernie Sanders—noting that it also represents the latest example of why the U.S. healthcare system is in desperate need of a top-to-bottom overhaul:

BREAKING: The Supreme Court just sided with the Trump administration, ruling your employer or university can deny you birth control coverage based on a religious or moral objection.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Religious liberty is not a license to discriminate.

— ACLU (@ACLU) July 8, 2020

#BREAKING: The Supreme Court sided with the Trump admin today, ruling that employers can “opt out” of the Affordable Care Act’s requirement to cover birth control with no additional copay (they can “opt out” based on religious or moral convictions). This is a disaster.

— Caroline Orr Bueno, Ph.D (@RVAwonk) July 8, 2020

The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the Trump administration's new exemptions to Obamacare's birth control mandate.

As a result, about 70,000 to 126,000 women are expected to lose birth control coverage at work.

— Sarah Kliff (@sarahkliff) July 8, 2020

The Supreme Court’s decision to enable the Trump Admin’s assault on women’s health, financial security & independence is a fundamental misreading of the Affordable Care Act.

— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) July 8, 2020

This will deprive over 100K women from getting contraceptive care.

Notably, the Supreme Court did not say that the Constitution forbids the federal govt from providing contraceptive care--Alito said that but not the Court. So a new Administration can reverse it.

— Neal Katyal (@neal_katyal) July 8, 2020

Thanks to the Supreme Court (and Susan Collins), many hard-pressed women are going to find it tougher to obtain adequate birth control.

— Stephen King (@StephenKing) July 8, 2020

Should decisions on health care be determined by the patient? Or, should they be controlled by the whims of the employer? Today's Supreme Court decision makes it clear why health care is a human right, not an employee benefit, and why we must pass Medicare for All.

— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) July 8, 2020

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